Mexico: Flavors Old and New – A Journey for Women

February 16-23, 2018 (8 days, 7 nights)

Today’s contemporary Mexican cuisine goes far beyond the realm of tacos and burritos.  It fuses Mesoamerican and European ingredients, influences and techniques to create one-of-a-kind flavors. Join us in Mexico for culinary adventure for women only. Learn to prepare Mexican cuisine with the help of master chefs, dine in the best restaurants, immerse yourself in Mexican culture and participate in unique, special-access experiences.

On your journey, enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow female travelers as you familiarize yourself with culturally rich Mexico City. Celebrate the life and works of feminist painter and pop culture icon Frida Kahlo with a guided tour of her Casa Azul. In scenic San Miguel de Allende, join renowned health food expert and professional chef Alicia Wilson Rivero for a cooking class. Even with the many activities planned, there is still have time to pamper yourself with a private group session in soothing subterranean Mayan mineral baths.

Culinary Highlights

  • Meet your female co-travelers during a welcome dinner at Restaurant Azul Historicó
  • Sample the delights at Mexico City’s most popular chocolateria
  • Discover Mexico City’s vibrant street-food scene
  • Dine on pre-Hispanic dishes and Oaxacan mezcal
  • Join cooks on a market tour to gather ingredients for use in a cooking class
  • Meet Chef Carlos Segura at award-winning Cuna de Tierra Winery for a private vineyard tour, wine tasting and cooking class
  • Participate in a traditional cooking class at a local rancho
  • Taste an array of Mexican cheeses
  • Spend a day visiting markets and preparing a meal with healthy eating chef and culinary consultant Alison Wilson Rivero
  • Enjoy a seven-course paired menu at San Miguel’s most sought-after table, Àperi, prepared by acclaimed chef Matteo Salas

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Explore Mexico’s historic heart on a private walking tour
  • Visit the Palacio de Bellas Artes, housing frescoes by Orozco, Rivera and Montenegro
  • Wander the Frida Kahlo Museum to view mementos showcasing the artist’s life
  • Spend an afternoon at a unique Mayan-style hot springs swimming through underground grottoes (optional massage available, but must be booked in advance)
  • Discover the sights of San Miguel de Allende on a walking tour

Your Tour Includes

  • 8-day tour by luxury motor coach with an expert driver/guide
  • Breakfast daily (except departure day)
  • 4 lunches and 2 dinners
  • 3 nights at Hotel Stara Hamburgo, Mexico City
  • 4 nights at Hotel Matilda, San Miguel de Allende
  • All sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary

Day 1
Bienvenidos a Mexico! Your driver and tour guide are waiting at the Benito Juarez International Airport to transfer you and your fellow travelers to Hotel Stara Hamburgo, your home for the next three nights. With the afternoon at leisure, you have time to settle in. Just before dinner, join your tour mates and acclaimed pastry chef Jose Ramon Castillo for a visit to a renowned chocolateria. Learn about Mexico’s cacao and chocolate legacy while sampling delectable artisan chocolate. Later, sit down to a welcome dinner featuring a tasting menu and two glasses of wine at Restaurant Azul Historicó, chef and author Ricardo Muñoz Zurita’s initiative to create a genuine forum for Mexican cuisine (at an affordable price) ¾  something that is very rarely seen. Almost 13 years after opening, the restaurant continues to promote many dishes that were totally unknown outside of their place of origin. Dishes include fish tikin xic and black and white pipián mole (pumpkin seed mole).

Hotel Stara Hamburgo, Mexico City

Day 2
Begin your day in Mexico City with a tour starting in the Centro Historico. Continue around the Zócalo area to see the Palacio Nacional, containing the offices of the President, the Federal Treasury, National Archives and scenic murals; the Cathedral Metropolitana; and the Templo Mayor (viewable only from the outside). NOTE: Access is not guaranteed. If there is a political event, it may be closed. Conclude at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, designed in art nouveau style with a Carrara marble façade. Its interior features a crystal curtain carved with the images of the Iztlaccihuatl and Popocatepetl volcanoes, and frescoes by Orozco, Siqueiros, Rivera, Tamayo and Montenegro. Pause for lunch at Limosneros, a restaurant that specializes in pre-Hispanic dishes. Complement your meal with Oaxacan mescal. Afterward, travel to the southern part of the city for a visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum, Casa Azul. Hidden behind high cobalt blue walls, the colonial-style museum is the former home of the feminist artist, who lived here with her muralist husband Diego Rivera until her death in 1954. Fascinating not only for the collections and personal effects of the two great artists it contains, it also affords a window into the lifestyles of affluent Mexican bohemians during the first half of the last century. From there, head to the main square of Coyoaca, where you have some free time to explore the area before returning to the hotel for an evening at leisure.

Hotel Stara Hamburgo, Mexico City

Day 3
Travel in the company of two locally renowned cooks for a cultural and culinary experience in the heart of the artistic, dynamic La Roma neighborhood. Begin in the Medellin market for a taste of authentic Mexican tortillas made with traditional nixtamal dough. Learn how this vitamin-rich food has withstood the test of time throughout Mesoamerica. Stroll through the market to discover the colors, aromas and deep-rooted traditions present at every turn. Interact with local merchants and sample spices, cheeses, ice cream, single-origin coffee from Chiapas and much more. Shop for the best local ingredients to take to Casa Jacaranda, a beautifully restored mansion and the site of your afternoon hands-on cooking lesson with chef and culinary consultant Alison Wilson Rivero.

Learn generations-old culinary secrets and techniques from expert chefs during this interactive experience while you chop, grill, marinate and steam to create a three-course menu, complete with sauces and garnishes. Then, dine on your creation while drinking Mexican wine and tasting Oaxacan mescal.

Hotel Stara Hamburgo, Mexico City

Day 4
Go by private transportation to San Miguel de Allende, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a small-town feel and no traffic lights. Travel + Leisure magazine recently dubbed the picturesque mountain town a “magnet for international gastronomes.” Embark on a guided walking tour in the historic city center to see iconic sites, such as Archangel Church and historic houses ¾ Casa de las Conspiraciones, Casa de Los Condes de la Canal and Casa de Ignacio Allende ¾ as well as important streets, markets, cultural centers and stores. Afterward, check in to Hotel Matilda and enjoy the remainder of the day and evening at leisure.

Hotel Matilda, San Miguel de Allende

Day 5
Meet your guide in the hotel lobby this morning and take a short drive to the San Miguel organic market. Join Chef Carlos Segura and walk through the market to learn about local organic farming and produce; then, visit the Doña Polita Organic Farm to see how these delicious ingredients are gown. Afterward, head to an award-winning vineyard and restaurant. Meet the winery’s sommelier at a private reception. Admire the captivating landscape and architecture as you sample some of Mexico’s best wines and gastronomical delights from atop the contemporary tower. Then, climb aboard the vineyard “bus” for a short, guided tour through the vineyard to the winemaking area where you hear an in-depth explanation of the production methods and processes. Your culinary journey continues when you are reunited with Chef Segura for a private cooking class in Cuna de Tierra’s kitchen. Learn how to transform the ingredients purchased from the market and turn them into world-class dishes. Enjoy a four-course meal made from the fruits of your labor.

Hotel Matilda, San Miguel de Allende

Day 6
Set out on an unforgettable rural experience just 15 minutes from the bustle of town. Rancho del Sol Dorado, nestled amid monumental hills in a community that dates back more than 300 years, is adjacent to the historical Camino Real ¾ the Spanish trail that Conquistadores forged during their search for gold and silver in the 16th century. Have lunch and learn to prepare a special Mexican hot drink known as ponche, made of cut-up Mexican fruits and aromatic spices.

NOTE: The ranch chef is local cook Señora Marcela Arredondo Quiroz, who gives this meal an authentic, down-to-earth ranch experience. After lunch, take a short trip to San Miguel’s private hot springs, a sanctuary of natural thermal mineral waters. Change to your swimsuit in the underground lounge and bathroom and then proceed to the climate-controlled pyramid chamber to relax by the waters’ subterranean entrance. Swim through underground candlelit quartz and crystal grottoes to outside pools. From high on a hill, gaze at the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains and the brilliant sweep of the Milky Way at night. While you’re here, enjoy a gourmet snack and two glasses of wine. The remainder of the day and evening are at leisure.

Hotel Matilda, San Miguel de Allende

Day 7
Tour the local market to source fresh vegetables, chilies and other delicacies needed to prepare lunch at a gourmet kitchen. Learn to make red and green salsas, tortillas, guacamole and spicy chicken tinga; sample Mexican cheeses; and discover the secrets of huitlacoche (a corn delicacy). This evening, gather for a seven-course farewell dinner and wine pairing at Àperi, an open-kitchen restaurant located in the Dos Casas Hotel & SpaIn 2015, Àperi was named “Best New Restaurant in Mexico” and “Best Hotel Restaurant” by Travel + Leisure México. Its chef, Matteo Salas, studied at the Paul Bocuse Institute in France and was influenced the creative environment fostered by his parents, who were designers. Chef Salas was named Revelation Chef in the Food and Travel Reader Awards 2016, and was a finalist in the first series of the culinary reality show Top Chef Mexico.

Hotel Matilda, San Miguel de Allende

Day 8
Depart early this morning for your journey home. NOTE: Breakfast is not included today.

FRIDA KAHLO’S ZUCCHINI SALAD

Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS

8 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp sugar
6 small zucchini, sliced
2 ripe avocados, sliced
3 oz crumbled queso anejo or parmesan
2 tsp roughly chopped cillantro

INSTRUCTIONS

Shake 6 tbsp. olive oil, vinegar, salt, and sugar in a glass jar until emulsified; set aside. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high; cook zucchini until golden, 10–12 minutes. Let cool slightly and overlap on a serving platter with avocados. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with the vinaigrette; garnish with queso añejo or parmesan and cilantro.

– Saveur Magazine, October 14, 2014

“Mexican food is far more varied than people think. It changes like dialects.

– Gael Garcia Bernal

         Prices start at $3,990 per person, sharing. Single room occupancy starts at $4,950.  Airfare to Mexico City and returning from Guanajuato International Airport is not included.                                    

 

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